Friday, March 20, 2020
Thank you for engaging with my office over the past few weeks and providing us with your valuable input and generous offers to help as we continue to respond to this unprecedented challenge. As the Prime Minister said, we will get through this together. Our number one priority is the health and well-being of Canadians. The first phase of Canada’s COVID-19 Economic Response Plan, announced by the Prime Minister on March 18, is providing immediate help to Canadians and business that are the most vulnerable.
Since the outset of this crisis, my team has connected with thousands of businesses across all sectors in Canada. It’s clear that the effort to combat COVID-19 must include the impressive and innovative power of Canadian businesses. We have a world-class industrial base in Canada, and today, I’m asking them to come forward to let us know where they can help. Our objective is to ensure stable, long-term domestic supply and capacity for important medical supplies, so that we continue to have Canadian solutions ready to protect and support Canadians. This is a coordinated strategy that will leverage existing and potential industrial capacity to rapidly deploy Canadian production in the products we need to keep up the fight against COVID-19.
Canada’s industrial policy will be temporarily refocused to prioritize research and development, commercialization, and manufacturing (existing or potential) for medical supplies and solutions in the fight against COVID-19. This means that:
- The Strategic Innovation Fund will deliver direct support to larger companies as well as research institutions;
- Canada’s National Research Centre will expedite R&D with small and medium-sized enterprises;
- Innovation Superclusters will tap into a national network of 1,800 members; and
- Innovative Solutions Canada will help Canadian companies commercialize faster.
Funds will be deployed on an accelerated basis with wider flexibility to be able to tackle COVID-19 related problems through shortened applications and faster approvals, while maintaining standards for the health and safety of Canadians. We are putting the full weight of the federal government behind this plan.
My announcement today builds on previous efforts already announced by our government to support Canadians and businesses across the country, which include:
- Allowing all businesses to defer, until after August 31, 2020, the payment of any income tax amounts that become owing on or after today and before September 2020. This relief would apply to tax balances due, as well as instalments, under Part I of the Income Tax Act. No interest or penalties will accumulate on these amounts during this period. This measure will result in businesses having more money available during this period.
- Increasing the credit available to small, medium, and large Canadian businesses. As announced on March 13, 2020, a new Business Credit Availability Program will provide more than $10 billion of additional support to businesses experiencing cash flow challenges through the Business Development Bank of Canada and Export Development Canada. Our Government is ready to provide more capital through these financial Crown corporations.
- Further expanding Export Development Canada’s ability to provide support to domestic businesses.
- Providing flexibility on the Canada Account limit to help our government provide additional support to Canadian businesses – when considered to be in the national interest – to deal with exceptional circumstances.
- Providing eligible small businesses a 10 per cent wage subsidy for the next 90 days, up to a maximum of $1,375 per employee and $25,000 per employer. Employers benefiting from this measure would include corporations eligible for the small business deduction, as well as not-for-profit organisations and charities. This will help employers keep people on their payroll and help Canadians keep jobs.
- Launching an Insured Mortgage Purchase Program to purchase up to $50 billion of insured mortgage pools through the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). As announced on March 16, 2020, this will provide stable funding to banks and mortgage lenders and support continued lending to Canadian businesses and consumers.
I would like to thank you for your continued engagement and feedback. Please do not hesitate to reach out to a member of my team if we can be of any assistance.
The Hon. Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry
Government of Canada